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Ford v. Avenal State Prison

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 11, 2017

CHARLES FORD, Plaintiff,
AVENAL STATE PRISON, et al., Defendants.


         Charles Ford (“Plaintiff”) is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the complaint commencing this action on September 26, 2016. (ECF No. 1). On March 21, 2017, the Court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend, and explained relevant legal principles. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on April 13, 2017, (ECF No. 7), which is before this Court for screening.[1]

         Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff contracted Valley Fever at Avenal State Prison. Plaintiff alleges that when he initially alerted medical staff, they did not believe that he was sick.

         The Court finds that Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint fails to state a federal cause of action for violation of the United States Constitution. The relevant legal standard requires facts that could establish deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Plaintiff instead alleges that medical staff wrongly came to the conclusion that he did not need care. While these facts may establish a state law claim for medical malpractice, they do not establish a violation of the United States Constitution. Moreover, Plaintiff still has not named a specific defendant who failed to give him the required care.

         In light of the legal guidance given in its earlier screening order, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint without leave to amend.


         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that the action or appeal fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         A complaint is required to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id. at 679. While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Additionally, a plaintiff's legal conclusions are not accepted as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Pleadings of pro se plaintiffs “must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that pro se complaints should continue to be liberally construed after Iqbal).


         In 2006, Plaintiff was housed at Avenal State Prison. Plaintiff was exposed to, and contracted, the Valley Fever virus.

         Plaintiff immediately contacted prison staff, along with numerous amounts of written and verbal requests to medical personnel. Plaintiff suffered from Valley Fever symptoms, such a trouble breathing, chronic back pain, bone joint weakness, and trouble standing. Eventually, Plaintiff's condition became life threatening.

         A week after exhausting all of his remedies for medical relief, the first watch correctional officer noticed Plaintiff's condition and called for an emergency medical transportation unit. Before performing any tests, the medical personnel stated that Plaintiff was not sick and refused to transport Plaintiff to the hospital medical unit.

         After walking to the medical center, the doctor diagnosed Plaintiff with Valley Fever and called for an immediate medical transportation unit. Plaintiff was then transferred to Coalinga Regional Medical Center.


         Plaintiff made similar allegations in his original complaint. The Court dismissed that complaint with leave to amend. The Court set forth the legal standards for various claims, including deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, equal protection under the Fourteenth ...

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